Schofield sentence upheld by court

This story was published on Aug. 18, 2006 on Page B1 in all editions of the Bangor Daily News

PORTLAND – The state supreme court on Thursday upheld a 20-year sentence for a Chelsea woman in the asphyxiation death of her 5-year-old foster child, who was bound with duct tape and left alone in a basement.

Sally Schofield contended the sentence imposed in October 2005 after her original sentence was overturned was still too severe.

But the supreme court found that the judge did not abuse his discretion in weighing factors and coming up with the sentence.

Bill Stokes, deputy attorney general, said there’s no further recourse for Schofield when it comes to the sentence. Because her latest appeal didn’t involve constitutional issues, it’s unlikely that she’ll appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

“This is the end of the line, as far as any further appeals on the sentence,” Stokes said.

Schofield, who was convicted in 2002, was originally sentenced to 28 years, with eight years suspended. But that was overturned by the supreme court, which said Schofield could not be sentenced to more than 20 years without a jury’s finding that the crime was especially heinous.

During the resentencing, Justice Thomas Delahanty imposed a 20-year sentence and then suspended three years.

The net effect was that she’ll serve 17 years in prison under the new sentence compared to 20 years in the original sentence.

Members of Logan Marr’s family have expressed frustration at the lengthy appeals.

“All things being considered, we felt that the 17 years was a fair sentence,” Stokes said. “The family thought so, too.”

Logan Marr died in January 2001 after Schofield disciplined her for misbehavior by binding her to a high chair with 42 feet of duct tape and leaving her alone in the basement during a disciplinary “time out.” The tape partially covered her nostrils.

Schofield’s attorney, Jed Davis, argued that the sentence was excessive for manslaughter, especially for a defendant with no prior criminal record. He said Delahanty has imposed lesser sentences in manslaughter cases where there was evidence of a long history of abuse.

Davis did not return a call from The Associated Press on Thursday.

In imposing the sentence, Delahanty found that Marr’s death was “slow and agonizing with substantial conscious suffering; in some ways it can be equated to torture.”

He said that Schofield’s conduct met common definitions of heinous as “hateful or shockingly evil, enormously and flagrantly criminal, abominable, very bad or wretched.”

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